The medical term for itchiness is pruritus. It can occur on the skin on any part of the body. Let’s focus on your feet. Are your feet itchy? Have you ever wondered why? Patient education is very important to us at Suffolk Foot and Ankle. We are here to treat your feet and answer all of your burning questions.
Skin changes that may accompany the itchy sensation are:
- cracked, open areas
- dry, scale-like plaques
- white spots
Here are the top 10 causes of itchy feet:
- Athlete’s Foot is a contagious fungal infection that thrives in warm, moist environments. It’s commonly found in locker rooms, showers and around public swimming pools. Athlete’s Foot can be cured with an over the counter cream.
- High blood sugar levels due to diabetes over a prolonged period of time can cause dry, itchy feet. 11% of diabetics report this as a symptom of the disease. Heavy moisturizers used daily can help in addition to monitoring blood.
- Allergic Dermatitis can be caused by irritants such as soaps, laundry detergents or dyes in socks. It can be treated by avoiding the cause of the irritation and over the counter creams.
- Dry skin is quite common, especially in the Winter. Long hot showers without proper moisturizing can be the culprit. It can also be inherited, not drinking enough water or a side effect from medications. Use a moisturizer on wet feet to help lock in the moisture.
- Bugs are a seasonal problem. Pesky mosquitoes and other insects trigger the body to release the chemical histamine. This causes the area to itch. Benadryl or another topical antihistamine will remedy the itch.
- Eczema is the blanket term for a group of medical conditions that cause itchy and inflamed skin. Flare-ups can begin in childhood and range from mild to intolerable itching. Avoiding the temptation to itch, keeping the feet free from sweat, and applying moisturizer are all important. Prescription topical or oral steroids will also reduce the symptoms.
- Kidney or Liver Disease can lead to itchy feet. When these vital organs are not functioning properly, blood and waste remain in the body. Fluid retention causes the itching. Prescription medications or dialysis can alleviate the symptoms.
- Pregnancy can bring on pruritus gravidarum. 20% of pregnant woman experience itching on their feet, hands, and abdomens. It is treated with corticosteroids and antihistamines. Most sufferers get relief after the baby is born.
- Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes abnormally fast-growing skin cells to accumulate and stick together in white patches. Psoriasis often affects the toes. Ointments and oral medications are used for treatment. New treatments include light therapy and injectable biologics.
- Hypothyroidism causes a decrease in cell turnover and dry, flaky, itchy feet. Thyroid medication and over-the-counter heel balms and foot serums are used for treatment.
Schedule an appointment with us if your itchy feet don’t improve with home care or if your symptoms get worse with time!